William Mahoney, president and CEO, Cox Medical Center Branson; Jacob McWay, CFO; and Steve Edwards, president and CEO
2013 Dynamic Dozen No. 6: CoxHealth
2012 was a big year for CoxHealth. In addition to 10 percent revenue and 11 percent employee growth, the integrated health system earned a seventh consecutive national nod as a Top 100 Integrated Healthcare System by health care analytics organization SDI Health and was recognized as a Best Regional Hospital by U.S. News & Word Report.
CoxHealth’s region-leading Oxford HealthCare expanded into central and eastern Missouri, while its southern reach was enhanced by acquiring the former Skaggs Regional Medical Center, now Cox Medical Center Branson. In Springfield, the health system added two new surgical robots, a dedicated breast care MRI and upgraded its emergency operations to join a select group of eight state hospitals as a designated level one trauma center.
CEO Steve Edwards says behind the headlines and high tech gadgets are dedicated people, focused on serving the unique needs of southwest Missouri. CoxHealth celebrated the accomplishments of all 9,000 of its physicians, nurses and support staff in a November recognition dubbed “100 Ways You Made Us Great.”
“Working in healthcare has these immeasurable rewards,” says Edwards. “But I think that’s especially the case for our employees. If we remain true to our organizational mission of providing the best care, our people are behind us 100 percent.”
Organic isn’t a term typically associated with the strategic world of tertiary health care. However, important advances often grow from situational opportunities rather than planned initiatives, and CoxHealth is taking advantage of two such instances to bolster its regional growth.
The first, called the BJC Collaborative, is a partnership with several St. Louis and Illinois health care institutions that will streamline local care delivery via shared capital purchasing, staff education and best practices information. Stemming from “what if” conversations between Edwards and colleagues in a professional purchasing association, the unique partnership was highlighted on the cover of October’s issue of Modern Healthcare magazine.
The 2012 Skaggs acquisition is another example of circumstantial growth. While the titular change and some operational transition occurred last year, primary financial and operational consolidation began Jan. 1, 2013. The merger adds 170 inpatient beds, nearly 1,000 employees, and is expected to boost CoxHealth’s annual gross revenues by an expected $300 million.
Due diligence, aligning of benefits and other transition planning consumed much of 2012 for both organizations, and though borne of dire circumstances, the partnership with CoxHealth is already making waves, says William Mahoney, president and CEO of Cox Medical Center Branson.
“Since announcing details of the deal on Jan. 1, we’ve had three times as many physician employment inquiries,” he says. “That, along with the unanimous 98-0 vote of our board of trustees in favor of partnering with Cox, tells me that this is the best thing for our hospital, our community and the patients we serve.”
Three-year growth of 20 percent has pushed CoxHealth’s revenues to $2.45 billion, and the progress shows no signs of abating. A recent news conference unveiled plans for a $130 million, 310,000-square-foot patient tower to be completed in 2014. The project adds 80 beds to the south Springfield campus, establishes a dedicated neurosciences program, as well as a women’s and children’s specialty hospital-within-a-hospital. But amid all the cameras and commotion, the highlight for Edwards was a group of pediatric nurses who spontaneously burst into applause at the announcement.
“They weren’t cheering because they were getting a nicer workspace,” he says. “They were excited about patient care improvements resulting from the project. There’s a good vibe here right now, and seeing employees like them – who are happy and proud of our growth – tells me we’re on the right track.”